Hosted at the Edinburgh Christadelphian Church by the local community group there, Inquiry into the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ purportedly sets out to examine evidence of the matter. This evidence is portrayed in the form of a very structured inquiry, with members of the Christadelphian community portraying a select number of eyewitness accounts.
I have my own views in the regards to the religious and historical elements behind this but I shall set these aside in order to focus on the task of writing a theatrical review rather than an academic article. Yet to analyse this hour of performance theatrically is difficult for it does not seem much like a show. There is nothing remarkable in terms of tech or blocking - we are in a room with the light on and one by one, people are called to the stand in the guise of figures from scripture, such as Joseph of Arimathaea or the disciple Thomas. It is clear that nobody in this performance (all of whom are members of the Christadelphian community) is a natural actor and therefore it seems unfair to judge them so. For their part, they all did a good job in the delivery of their lines and everything was clear and audible. There is also no costume or any attempt at set dressing other than a lectern. The chairman leading the inquiry makes no attempt to hide the script on his table.
As to the content delivered, that is another matter. A modern doctor is on hand at one point to provide a surprisingly graphic description of crucifixion considering that there are children in the room. There does not seem to be much balance on display - all of the ‘witnesses’, bar the modern doctor, are taken from gospel accounts and scripture. You may not be surprised at what the inquiry held in a church ultimately concluded on the matter. But somewhat interestingly, some these accounts are apparently devised (according to later questioning), such as the case of a centurion responsible for confirming the death of Jesus. There is no source of direct testimony for him but the script has provided one for him presumably from interpretation of other sources.
I felt an opportunity was missed for the audience to put their own questions to the witnesses during the performance, although this may have been a little bit unfair to those brave enough to do the show but perhaps unused to acting and maintaining that character. The most interesting point of my night was the ability to ask questions of the doctor and other figures in the church afterwards. My questioning revealed that the script of the show is fifteen years old and nobody in the community is quite sure who wrote it or for what purpose.
I can only recommend attending this if you are intrinsically interested in the matter at hand; there is nothing really to appreciate theatrically. Yet if you are already interested, then you may find that you already aware of most of the content relayed and that it does not dig deep enough for you. Should the community wish to present this again next year, I believe it would be worthwhile revising the script and perhaps engaging in more audience participation to avoid what was unquestionably a static performance. An attempt to inject more character rather than gospel truth into the mouths of performers would also not go amiss.